Panorama of Aarhus seen from the harbor (Photo: Luc Citrinot)

At the terrace of a café, at the reception of a hotel, in the streets, it only takes a few minutes for a conversation to start almost immediately with someone. The inhabitants of Aarhus have the reputation of cultivating “Hygge”, a Danish term that evokes well-being, comfort and intimacy. A happiness of living that makes this city so attractive to travelers, including those coming for business.

We were named the happiest city in the world after Helsinki. And indeed, Aarhus’ relaxed nature is an asset. Visitors generally feel good here

,” says Pia Lange Christensen, managing director of Visit Aarhus, the tourism promotion agency.

Her office along the Aarhus harbor is the epitome of “Hygge. Bright green paint on what looks like a temporary structure made of containers. And that contrasts with the comfort of the Scandinavian-style offices and living spaces so characteristic.

Denmark’s youngest and most dynamic city

Aarhus

is on a roll.

The city appears today as the best alternative to Copenhagen for many entrepreneurs. In France, one could wonder about this reason, as Aarhus remains relatively unknown. But the facts speak for themselves for this city of nearly 340,000 inhabitants and more than one million in its metropolitan area

. The new symbol of Aarhus is being built: the Mindet 6 Tower on the harbourfront will be the tallest structure in Denmark with 144 meters and 38 floors (Photo: C.F. Møller Architects)

. Aarhus is located along the northeast coast of Jutland, the most central province of Denmark. The city is in fact equidistant from Hamburg and Copenhagen. The port of Aarhus is thus the largest in Denmark with a 56% market share for container traffic.

Aarhus is considered the youngest city in the country with almost 35% of its population in the 18-34 age range. Its population growth is one of the fastest in the country, with some 15,000 new inhabitants gained in a decade. This dynamism is stimulated by the presence of the University of Aarhus, considered by many Danes as the best in the country. It welcomes nearly 40,000 students with beneficial effects on all sectors of the new economy.

Aarhus, capital of the future

Research and development, design, renewable energies, high technology, fashion and architecture. On average, some 1,500 companies are created each year. A dynamic that translates into more than 20,000 jobs

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generated over a decade.

We are indeed an attractive city for the creative and research industries. But also, we are the center of Danish agriculture. Most of the big names in agribusiness, such as Arla and Lurpark, are based in the region

,” says Pia Lange Christensen.

To support this incubator of talent, the city has created five centers of excellence scattered throughout the city. These “Innovation Districts” focus on health, agriculture, high-tech, creative industries and renewable energy. In this area, Aarhus has the ambition to be completely CO2 neutral by 2030

. Åboulevarden runs along the Aarhus River in the city center and is mainly home to restaurants and cafés (Photo: Luc Citrinot)

Making Aarhus better known in France

Perhaps the only weak point of this city that is so attractive to live in is still its lack of notoriety among travelers, especially French speakers. ” Our main international markets are Germany, Norway and Sweden because of their proximity. We also have a significant number of Dutch visitors. With the recovery of post-pandemic tourism, our promotional efforts are turning to these four markets. As well as France and Italy, which have great potential

,” explains Pia Lange Christensen.

From France, Aarhus is, in fact, more accessible than ever. It is just over an hour’s drive from Billund International Airport, which has direct connections to Paris and Brussels. And then there is this small metropolis with undeniable charm. And the cost of living is still much lower than in Copenhagen.

The center is compact, easy to explore on foot and has everything you could want from a European city. The historic city nestles behind the cathedral along Rosensgade, Klostergade and Volden. It is called the Latin Quarter (Latinerkvarteret) with its maze of small cobblestone streets, passageways, pastel, white or even anthracite colored renaissance houses. The whole area is occupied by small cafes, vegetarian or exotic restaurants, designer or vintage stores, and a cosmopolitan and diverse crowd… Another place to stroll in the city center, the Åboulevarden, in the part that stretches between Magasin (an elegant department store) and Europe Square, lines up restaurants and bars along the Aarhus River

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. The view from the “Rainbow” at ARoS Art Museum (Your rainbow panorama, Olafur Eliasson, 2006 – 2011, ARoS Aarhus Art Museum)

On the cultural side, Aarhus benefited from being named European Capital of Culture in 2017. It has a

There are also some outstanding museums. ARoS, the city’s art museum, has one of the finest collections of modern art in Northern Europe. The museum is famous for its sculpture course called “the rainbow”. But also the Moesgard Museum dedicated to anthropology and whose contemporary architecture is confronted with the surrounding forests. Finally, the very surprising Den Gamle By Museum (Old Town Museum) recreates an old town with authentic historical houses. You can even discover a 70’s district with its stores. An excellent place for incentive activities.

Or simply watch Aarhus live, from a rooftop terrace or in its old streets. And chat with your neighbors. Hygge oblige…

AARHUS GUIDE

Getting there

There are several directAir France and Vueling flights from Paris CDG and Orly to Billund. Air France serves Billund airport up to twice a day, Vueling three times a week. Ryanair also operates flights to Brussels-Charleroi. It is possible to land directly at Aarhus Airport via Copenhagen or London-Stansted.

Stay

Scandinavian luxury and comfort are embodied at Comwell Aarhus Dolce by Wyndham. All rooms have a superb view of the city… (Værkmestergade 2, 8000 Aarhus C- Tel. +45 70 274 274 – https://comwell.com/en/hoteller/comwell-hotel-aarhus). Boutique, design and sustainable spirit for the three-star Hotel Oasia in the heart of the city (Kriegersvej 27 – Tel. +45 87 32 37 15 – www.hoteloasia.com). For tighter budgets, the BOOK1 Design Hostel. In fact the former city library from the 50’s transformed into a very Scandinavian looking hostel is perfect for business travelers as it has single rooms. Bar, lounge, meeting rooms and a hearty breakfast are all part of the experience (Møllegade 3A, Mølleparken – Tel +45 88 30 15 00 – www.brochner-hotels.com/book1-designhostel).

Eating

The Klokken Aarhus restaurant near the harbor offers inventive Scandinavian cuisine at reasonable prices for Denmark, especially on lunch menus(https://restaurantklokken.dk/klokken-aarhus/). The quintessence of new Danish cuisine, Nordisk Spisehus is recommended by Michelin. You can have lunch there from 12 euros for one dish and from 65 euros for a four course menu in the evening. Reasonable for an excellent quality(https://www.nordiskspisehus.dk/en/). To eat at a reasonable price, coffee shops – not to be confused with cafés which are restaurants – offer sandwiches and pastries in a relaxed atmosphere. Try them in the Latin Quarter or in the Frederiksbjerg district…

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Photos: the Book1 bar (LC), Den Gamle By museum (LC), Latin Quarter (LC), Salling rooftop (Phototop-Visit Aarhus), cathedral (LC) and Moengaard Museum (Moengaard).

Discover three must-sees in Aarhus

  • Have a drink or a snack on the incredible rooftop of the Salling department store. This huge rooftop terrace with a view of the city center is spread over several levels and includes a winter garden with a bar and café as well as several lounge areas where you can enjoy a delicious meal or a refreshing cocktail. Musicians and DJ’s perform every Friday at the “Fredag på Toppen” event from 5-7pm.
  • Again a rooftop offering this time a 360° view of the city through the prism of the rainbow. On the roof of ARoS, the museum of fine arts, the artwork of the Danish/Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson appears as a large circular glass walkway of 52 meters and 150 meters long. You can stroll along it or sit on the lower floor and watch the visitors while sipping a coffee… A little tip: the museum is open until 9 pm and usually empty after 7 pm.
  • The remarkable Aarhus Cathedral (Aarhus Domkirke) offers a superb Gothic architecture and splendid medieval frescoes bringing a touch of color on the bright white walls.

For more information

The website of the Aarhus tourist office gives a lot of advice to discover the city in an interactive way(https://www.visitaarhus.com/aarhus-region/plan-your-trip).

French Consulate: see the French Embassy in Denmark in Copenhagen – https://dk.ambafrance.org/Contacter-les-services-de-l-Ambassade

Economic information about Aarhus at https://businessaarhus.dk/eng/about-aarhus/